Fatal Fall from Airbnb Illegal Hotel


On October 28th, 2018, my son was a guest in a New Orleans Airbnb. He was only there for a few hours after work and before another early morning shift as a chef at Commander’s Palace. It’s been two months and the NOPD are still “investigating” his unexplainable fall through a solid 3’x 4’ window positioned over a sofa.

In my attempts to contact Airbnb, they offered their sorrow that since our son was not the one who rented the room there was nothing they could do. They did offer to cancel any future bookings so he did not get charged for future trips.

I explained that, along with endless questions and frustrations, I expected to get my son’s possessions that were left in the room. Airbnb stated that they could not require the host to get in touch with me. Apparently I put some pressure on him and suddenly the other guest later returned my son’s phone, shoes and shirt. I’m still asking for my son’s backpack and chef’s knife kit, which he took to and from work every day.

Airbnb “closed their case with me” after asking me four times if the host had contacted me, which he hadn’t. I messaged the host on Facebook messenger and then called the host on his Facebook messenger app. Nada. The host had five listings on Airbnb that I found and now I see that four of them have been removed. I reached out again to Airbnb yesterday via Twitter and they said they were “escalating the case” (which I heard before they closed it last time), which have not heard from Airbnb.

These photos show the mysteriously single pane window in a building renovated in 2011 after the for windows requires hurricane-proof glass.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. After continuing to keep reading articles of the AIRBNB that caused the death of Seth Donaldson, I have determined a few things. AIRBNB is not trustworthy, it does not investigate places wanting to list under them, a host was denied an occupancy permit by the city in April of 2018 for leasing short term but continued renting, and the tragic death of Seth Donaldson did not have to happen. AIRBNB should be accountable for every listing under their umbrella and make safety a #1 priority! This entire story is heartbreaking and it needs to be brought out in the public for all to see.

  2. Thank you for changing the title of this post by Seth Donaldson’s mom. The loss of this young man’s life is a tragedy which touches us all. AirBNB cannot be allowed to profit without culpability to the community it serves. A trusting community who, in this case, had no idea of the dangerous and life threatening conditions at this apartment. Adding to the tragedy is the fact the host of the listing was denied occupancy permits by the city of New Orleans to lease the apartment short term. There are many contributing factors to Seth’s death. However, these two strike me to the core because it means his death was preventable. If the host had continued working with the city for approval instead of placing his listing illegally, Seth would not have died. If AirBNB required a safety inspection or verified the legality of their listings, Seth would not have died. It is egregious that the incident, resulting in Seth’s death, is being treated in such a nonchalant manner by a company which has branded itself as a “trusting community.” AirBNB, where is your integrity?

  3. AirBnB, have a heart and help this grieving family at least recover their son’s belongings. How can you close a case that has obviously not been resolved? The indifference shown Amy and her family is disgusting.

  4. Thank you for considering changing the title. Because of the way New Orleans Police Department is handling this ‘accident’ there has not been even the first police report filed and so no investigative reporting has begun. What I’m looking for here is some national attention so we can begin to get not only justice for this atrocity, but also prevent another innocent AirNB user to unknowingly walk into a similar disaster zone!!!! This is not just about Seth’s things… it’s about some damned security!!!

  5. I can not believe that a company so big would be so very heartless to a mom/family on helping them get their deceased sons personal items back. Shame on you for not stepping up and being professional about caring for all parties to partake in Airebnb, including people who step into your facilities. The unwillingness just shows there is something to hide and I sincerely hope the Donaldson family will find out what that may be. There are obviously no parents, good or compassionate people who work at Airbnb Headquarters or this matter would have already been resolved. Keep fighting the fight Amy Donaldson.

  6. Please give these parents the closure they need. This young man’s possessions are all they have left of him. Give these things back to his family.
    I personally will never use your services, because of the treatment of a family who just wants to put closure to their grief. How does the national news feel about this?
    I am sorry, but you will NEVER get my business. Shame on you for holding his possessions for whatever reason you have.
    I get it you “can’t” make the renter make contact with them. I would think with a company that is worldwide you would have some sort of recourse with you clients. Do all of your clients steal from renters?
    Seriously step up and don’t let your name be ruined?

  7. How sad and disgusting that you do not provide the items of Seth Donaldson to his mother. If anyone there is a decent person you would give Amy Donaldson her sons items. So very sad how this Airbnb has been so heartless. I bet it would be different if it was your child. Please give her his items.

  8. I titled this “Fatal Flaw from Faulty AirBNB Window”, I believe. It’s not exactly an UNSENSORED if the title is changed. If you’re able to put in my original title I think the truth of the problem would be better understood.

    • i agree. sorry, but i think its distateful to change the title of the post considering the seriousness and context of what happened. c’mon man. for seo purposes? one title is not gonna change your SEO. im a digital marketer; i know for sure. In fact, it may benefit your site if you actually kept Amy’s title. Her title would drive much more traffic and clicks to your site, which will ultimatly give you leverage for SEO. Please consider changing it back :-). Such a sad story.

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